The Old Ceremony

Early show!

The Old Ceremony

Daniel Wayne, Rickolus

Fri, May 4, 2012

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm


This event is 18 and over

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The Old Ceremony - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
The Old Ceremony
Django Haskins of Durham, NC’s The Old Ceremony wants to cut the crap. He has no more patience for idealized love songs that seep into your blood like sugary cereal, leaving you tired and empty. In fact, he finds them harmful. With his band’s new album, Fairytales and Other Forms of Suicide, their first for Yep Roc Records, Haskins’ artistic awakening reaches full flower. More than any of their past records, Fairytales coheres around a central theme: of awakening to the world as it is and learning to see the beauty in its harshness. Meditations on love (“Fairytales and Other Forms of Suicide,” “The Royal We,” “Day That I Was Born,”), politics (“Sink or Swim”), and scientific progress (“Star by Star”) all return to this central theme, as does the haunting “Beebe, Arkansas,” based on the bizarre phenomenon of 5000 blackbirds dropping dead on a small town overnight two years in a row. It is an album of late night reckonings, punctuated by hopeful blasts of sunshine. And for lovers of classic songcraft, it is a gold mine.

The past two years has seen Haskins singing, playing, and MC’ing a tribute to Big Star’s Third album, in which Big Star drummer Jody Stephens and legendary producer Chris Stamey are joined by members of REM, the Replacements, Posies, Wilco, Yo La Tengo, labelmate Robyn Hitchcock, Sharon Van Etten, even Ray Davies of the Kinks. Performing with many of his heroes in New York, Austin, Barcelona, and London has brought Haskins’ distinctive baritone and rakish sense of humor to new audiences, and it has given him a chance to pay back some old debts. “Alex Chilton’s music has always been a powerful influence on my writing,” Haskins admits. “Getting to sing his songs and perform with so many people I admire has been both a learning experience and an incredible rush. The fact is, everyone on that show owes a debt to Alex, and Alex owed a debt to a bunch of earlier soul and Brit-invasion artists. It’s an unbroken chain of cheerful thievery and gratitude.”

The Old Ceremony began as an atmosphere as much as a band. Songwriter Django Haskins had amassed a raft of songs that just didn’t fit within the confines of the various Costello-esque rock outfits which he had led for years in New York and then in North Carolina. These darker songs required a more nuanced touch, a cinematic approach, in short, a certain atmosphere. They demanded sounds that couldn’t be found in most rock clubs. He created the Old Ceremony to bring them to life, and soon, it became a thriving organism and his exclusive focus. The band garnered early comparisons to Tom Waits, Serge Gainsbourg, Nick Cave, and Leonard Cohen (from whose album the band took its name). Early shows took the shape of events, where fans could come and dip a toe into the dark, continental atmosphere spun out by these songs. Years and many tours later, The Old Ceremony has long since pared down to a core of five members, covering bass, guitar, drums, violin, organ, vibes, and keys, but the focus remains squarely on Haskins’ songcraft and the cinematic textures the band brings to it.

With their new album, Fairytales and Other Forms of Suicide, these textures arrive with unusual clarity. Haskins’ focus may partially be the result of his other recent pursuits: he has spent much of his downtime in the past two years working on two non-fiction book manuscripts, excerpts of which have been published in respected literary and culture blogs and weekly arts newspapers. At first glance the two projects, a biography of Haskins’ Titanic survivor great-grandfather; and a sprawling tour memoir/urban history tract that tries to make sense of four cities that TOC frequents; may seem completely unconnected to Haskins’ songwriting career, but in fact, they all deal with similar themes. “I’m interested in the uses of mythology, whether it be a family mythology or a city’s mythology, and how it can obscure reality in harmful ways,” Haskins says. Thus, Fairytales and Other Forms of Suicide is the product of a tireless, obsessive search. Comparisons to fellow-travelers of dark, cinematic meditations like Cohen or Waits are no longer necessary, for The Old Ceremony has forged its own distinctive sound to accompany Haskins’ songs. It is the sound of seeking: for new textures, for hidden corners of experience, for a flash of truth in an otherwise confusing world.

The band consists of Django Haskins (voice/guitar), Mark Simonsen (vibraphone, organ), Gabriele Pelli (violin/keys), Dan Hall (drums), and Jeff Crawford (bass). They tour extensively in the US, Canada, and Europe and have performed with CAKE, Avett Brothers, Chuck Berry, Mountain Goats, and others. Their songs have appeared in numerous films, including Push, I Do and I Don’t, Leading Ladies, Familiar Strangers, and Elephant Sighs (for which they also composed the score). Their fifth album, Fairytales and Other Forms of Suicide comes out August 21st on Yep Roc Records.
Daniel Wayne - (Set time: 7:30 PM)
Daniel Wayne
If you haven't heard a truly great voice lately, you might want to check out Daniel Wayne. There's no doubt that distinguishing yourself as a singer-songwriter can be difficult; it's a style where it's easy to be mediocre, difficult to be great. But that voice puts to rest the doubters – sweet through the middle and upper ranges and flawless on the high notes, Wayne is instantly recognizable as well as accessible. A good example can be heard on the haunting, lonely solo number, "Pub's Crawl", which also takes an abrupt turn into a religious hymn at the end. Humble and appreciative between songs, the Ohio native comes across likable as well (the Midwestern thing again?). As for his songs, many are tinged with a light country twang, and navigate both indie gloom and homespun folk themes with equal skill.

I will admit that I had not heard of Wayne before I caught this Glasslands Gallery set opening for Jessica Lea Mayfield (that recording here), but apparently I was behind the curve. A sizable crowd showed up to catch his opening set, and by the end, a pretty full house was paying rapt attention. Wayne split the set equally between solo acoustic and full-band electric numbers, and we have served up a streaming example of each below (along with the complete-set download, of course). When the full band comes in during the first chorus of "Birds," you can tell that Wayne's big voice is equally if not better suited to the full-band treatment. The full-band songs also give Wayne a broader palette for his arrangements, and he takes full advantage on songs like the countrified "Virgin Saint", streaming below. Despite being the first opener of the night, Wayne put forth a full 50-minute set that alone was worth the show's price of admission. As Wayne himself put it in a recent interview on the CBS News website, "Every time I get on the stage, I give it everything I have." This was only my first Daniel Wayne performance, but that sure seemed to be the case.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK22 "open cardiod" microphones and a flawless soundboard feed provided by Josh Thiel, the house engineer at Glasslands. The sound is outstanding. Enjoy!

"(DANIEL WAYNE) is one of the TOP 5 NY ACTS you MUST SEE IN 2012"

"Cincinnati-bred, Brooklyn-based auteur Daniel Wayne pens dark Americana with indie melancholy and a distinct bluegrass twang." (TIME OUT NY)

"One of the stand-outs of the night was Daniel Wayne....a cross between Harry Nilsson and the spooky tones of "Twin Peaks." EXAMINER.COM

"..., but Daniel Wayne went on first, stole the show, and was an incredibly hard act to follow." -DAILY NUGGETS BLOGSPOT

"Daniel Wayne plays that steel string, sunburst Guild guitar like his mama told him not to. He dresses like Johnny Cash, has attitude like Bob Dylan and plays bar chords with his thumb. You'll think this guy's a real-live outlaw until he sweetens up between songs and starts calling the audience "y'all." Sometimes bluesy, Daniel Wayne has a classic country backbone with eerie undertones: like if Jerry Reed had written the Natural Born Killers soundtrack. Slow songs like "Far From Here" sound like My Morning Jacket, while "The Fool" gristles like a basey Townes Van Zant song."
-Jenny Luczak, Deli Magazine

"As a photographer, there are certain artists that when I study them on stage before a show, I know despite a seemingly placid and pure appearance, some sort of musical fury is seething beneath the surface about to be unleashed. People like Shilpa Ray or Langhorne Slim come to mind. In the case of Daniel Wayne, you can add a baby-faced fury to those qualities. While not loud or fast, he performs with a delicate strength - precise and passionate. His style of singing and playing is such that there's power in the silences between strums and verses, that's how much he had the crowd on a string. The bottom line is that he's got that can't-be-taught magnetism which solo male singer-songwriters tend to try to compensate for with a's always rewarding seeing and shooting a star on the rise lighting up a small room before they go on to be shared by the rest of the world." (GIMME SHUTTER REVIEW of
Daniel Wayne 05.05.11 @ Mercury Lounge NYC)
Rickolus - (Set time: 6:45 PM)
For the past decade rickoLus (Richard Colado) has been writing and recording his music in a green shed in the backyard of his parent's house in Jacksonville Beach, FL. In that time he has produced a mountain of works that for the most part have never been heard by anyone besides his friends and family. In 2007 he started a website ( where he made some of his music available for free and asked for donations. He has since accumulated a small following on the internet. With the finishing of his most recent album "Youngster" he set out to find a record label to help him get his music heard by more people. He found a home with Circle into Square records and Fake Four Inc. , they will be releasing "Youngster" and some of his other works in 2010